Veal’s return to the UK mainstream is gathering pace, with Tesco set to launch an own-label rosé veal range in time for Christmas.
The launch comes five months after Jimmy Doherty challenged the chain in his C4 programme Jimmy and the Giant supermarket to stock veal meatballs.
Tesco would not reveal what the products in its new veal range would be and whether they would include meatballs but said the new products would be made with “high-welfare British veal” and would hit shelves within the next few weeks.
The retailer recently started selling branded veal meatballs from DB Foods-owned Brookfield Farm, which went into 295 stores two weeks ago. (rsp £2.49 for 300g).
In his programme, Doherty urged Tesco to start stocking veal meatballs and encouraged consumers to buy more veal generally to make use of the 150,000 dairy bull calves shot at birth in the UK.
Doherty is not involved in making or marketing the meatballs made by DB Foods, but CEO Ben Bayer said the programme provided a useful prompt for his company to approach Tesco. “We had already started supplying them with veal stir fry and escalopes and when we saw the programme decided to talk to them about meatballs.”
DB Foods has an established business supplying veal to the foodservice sector, and sources its veal from about 20 West Country farms through a dedicated producer group. Its veal is RSPCA Freedom Food-approved and the company has won an award from Compassion in World Farming.
Bayer said demand for British veal was soaring as consumers realised higher-welfare options were available, and that Brookfield Farm was currently on a recruitment drive to sign up more farmers.